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At 23:00 last night Challenge 9 drew to a close bringing to an end this year’s National Cipher Challenge. I want to give heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part this year: to all the competitors and their supporting teachers and family; to the staff at 10 Degrees who built and managed the website and at OnImpact who designed the poster; to our followers on Twitter who spread the word about the competition, and especially to Tom Keay (@TeaKayB) at Bletchley who is such an avid promoter of all thinks cryptographic in the classroom. A special thanks to our sponsors: Netcraft, who keep our network safe; GCHQ and IBM for their longterm support (and of course, prizes!); Trinity College Cambridge and the University of Southampton, who understand the importance of outreach and have always supported the competition. Finally a thanks to my colleagues, Jim Renshaw and Ruben Sanchez-Garcia for their help with this year’s competition.

Congratulations too, to everyone who took part in this year’s competition. As usual, I am in awe at the raw talent and commitment shown by all of you as you tackled the ciphers. Some of you joined us for the first time, and I hope you will be back next year to use your newly acquired skills on a new set of challenges. Others were taking part as competitors for the last time, but I hope you will keep in touch. You are always welcome to tick the “ineligible for prizes” box and keep at it. You have joined a huge community of National Cipher Challenge competitors (over 50,000) and will continue to find a home here.

Of course you all want to know who has won! I am afraid you will have to wait a little, as we now need to generate the leader boards, and contact those at or near the top to work out who to award the prizes to, so patience please. We will be contacting the candidates tomorrow or early next week and will make an announcement next Thursday, and there will be news about the prize giving shortly after that. You can keep an eye out on Twitter for updates, or return here and in the Forum for news.

Once more, thank you. It has been a privilege to get to know you all a little bit.

Best wishes,

Harry’s signature